From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
It’s hard to imagine it has been 497 days since high school football teams played a postseason game. But it begins this week with Radford and Christiansburg taking center stage in their respective regions and classifications.
I have to admit this season has seen its ups and downs thanks to COVID-19. We didn’t even know if we would play this season after the Virginia High School League killed everything in the fall and moved football to this spring for six games.
Radford had to shut down its program for two weeks after a positive case, but that was the only situation that affected area teams.
I congratulate players, coaches, schools, family and fans for enduring it all, making it to this weekend.
Yes, we were limited to a maximum of 250 fans, mainly the families of the players. Radford and Montgomery County schools stepped up to the plate and added the National Federation of High School sports’ in-game cameras, thus allowing many fans to watch games from the comfort of their homes.
I know I enjoyed watching games from outside the area and even an occasional junior varsity contest.
The same was true earlier for basketball, and almost no fans were allowed into the building.
Nothing has been normal, but at least the student-athletes were given an opportunity to get back on the court or field.
We never realized how important high school sports were until they were taken away from us.
Everyone should let that set in.
Sports are a backbone of the school experience for every youngster from kindergarten to high school.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on all of us, but in so many ways, I worry about our young people. They had their world turned upside down from no in-person school to no sports.
I guess the video world has gained a new large “cult” following. There were probably some strained thumbs and an occasional sore butt from sitting so long. That’s what youngsters turned to.
It’s so nice to finally get outside and run, jump and play.
Kids need interaction with other kids. They need exercise, and sports provides both.
We should savor what we lost temporarily and get back on a whole different way.
I have been telling youngsters to hang in there, that changes are coming. For now, we have a temporary norm we must deal with.
The state championships for football will be held in three weeks, and we should remember this year for what it’s worth.